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Off the Shelf of l’EWBibliothèque

The problem of poverty is one that is large-scale, multifaceted, global, and yes, complex. This post from the EWBibliothèque discusses how teaming up with other players, such as other NGO’s could create lasting large-scale impact.

Here are some notable quotations from the article:

The complex nature of most social problems belies the idea that any single program or organization, however well managed and funded, can singlehandedly create lasting large-scale change.

Collaborating with other players is probably the (smarter) way to solve large social problems. The various groups could play to their strengths and compliment each other to achieve solutions that systemically address the complex challenges. Gone are the days when one NGO could go at it alone and be the hero.

The most critical factor by far is an influential champion (or small group of champions) who commands the respect necessary to bring CEO-level cross-sector leaders together and keep their active engagement over time.

It’s so important to have the leadership from each group to buy into the collaboration effort. Sometimes initiatives fail when the leadership or decision makers do not agree with the idea because they might not have been consulted in the first place. Also, the leadership needs to commit to collaborating over a period of time.

A strong framework for change, based on strong research and input from local players, shapes the strategic thinking of the group, helps them make tough choices about where to spend their time and energy, and guides their efforts at monitoring and evaluating their work.

Having a common framework and evaluation for the collaborative impact helps keep the groups focused on solving the large-scale complex problem. Common expectations would help all the groups work off the same page.

How would you gauge EWB’s capacity creating collaborative impact? Where else would collaborative impact be needed?


Off the Shelf of l’EWBibliothèque

Venture map2

This is a must read for all EWBers! As EWB has shifted its focus away from programs and more to ventures, the traditional structure of our organization has evolved.  Ventures would follow a trajectory, an incubated systemic innovation (or ISI in EWB-speak) path, which results in exiting the EWB incubator. For a visual of the incubator, click here. At National Conference 2013, a good number of ventures were pitched and their respective leaders/champions sought the EWB network for feedback. Since Conference, the Strategy & Investment team evaluated in which ventures EWB would invest money and staffing. This post goes through the selection process, criteria and rationale, and of course the chosen ventures!

The diagram above taken from the EWBibliothèque post shows the areas the ventures operate and where they overlap with each other. It’s a powerful reminder how systems do not operate in vacuums!

Off the Shelf of l’EWBibliothèque

There is an informative read from EWBibliothèque on value chains in agriculture. This would be a great backgrounder for the upcoming market facilitation workshop. Here’s the link:

You should also check out this post on market facilitation:

Off the Shelf of l’EWBibliothèque

As you’re writing your story about your vision of 2036 and your experience at the upcoming National Conference, you might want to read on to get some tips on crafting a riveting narrative!

Storytelling is an important skill for sharing the vision of EWB. It might be the best way to talk about EWB to your friends and family. People love to hear a good tale and they generally gravitate to a character facing conflict of some sort and coming up with some resolution.

EWBibliothèque has a great resource on storytelling:

I can’t wait to hear your story at conference!

Off the Shelf of l’EWBibliothèque

EWBibliothèque is a great online resource for all things EWB. With National Conference happening in just over a month, there is a lot of preparation material available to take advantage of! The theme to Conference this year is “Class of 2036: What’s possible in a generation of systemic change.” EWBibliothèque is the place to go for the latest prep material.

There’s more material to come, so you’ll be well prepared for what’s in store in Calgary! Be sure to check out the spiffy slide show introducing the theme and objectives of Conference:

It’s not too late to start framing what you hope to bring to and get out of conference. For those of you were at the Western Retreat, continue to write your story of what you’d like to see in the year 2036 and what your Conference experience would be like.